222 Great Directors: Aki Kaurismaki

“When I was young, I would sit in the bath and ideas would come to me. But I’m not young any more, so now I just sit in the bath.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work? Pleasantly surprised he’s on with no consensus masterpiece.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Match Factory Girl. Astonishing.

What Did I Watch: The rest of the Proletariat Trilogy in reverse order: Ariel and Shadows in Paradise.

Where Does He Fit: Watching the Proleteriat Trilogy in reverse order is an interesting experience. The Match Factory Girl hit me hard, but I can only imagine how much it would have hurt just by seeing something like Ariel first, which is outright funny at points thanks to the casual nature of how horrible everything is, yet it’s balanced with absurdity. One-time actor Turo Pajala is fantastic in the leading role and perfectly suited for the lack of emotions that give way in Kaurismaki’s worlds, with the opening here feeling downright action packed compared to the monotony of labor in that factory.

Shadows in Paradise, however, makes a great argument that you don’t need to start with the first act of a trilogy, you just need to make sure to watch the second film in that spot. This is much funnier than Ariel, with the shyness of Kati Outinen (not given quite as much to do as in Match Factory) serving as a great compliment to the weariness of Matti Pellonpaa, and it is also the least depressing. Life is just lived, and while it sucks, there’s a certain comfort in that. Fitting title, really, since everything is actually pretty all right even when it totally isn’t.


Most Valuable Asset: Bleak, dry wit.
Most Excited For: Man Without A Past.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes, definitely.

Coming Up Next: Son of Max and documentarian, Marcel Ophuls.


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